If Phase I gets done, will we ever see Phase II and Phase III at WMS?

Posted by Andy Durham on July 12, 2010 at 1:04 pm under Amateur, College, High School | 9 Comments to Read

The renovations to War Memorial Stadium call for the elimination of the overhang, no pressbox and no dressing rooms…..

I spoke with Greensboro Parks and Recreation director Greg Jackson, back on Friday and he told me that the changes to the old stadium, to make it a new stadium, would include three phases…..

Right now there has only been enough money funded to handle Phase I, which would include the current field at WMS, the current front of the stadium would remain and the rest of the stadium would be comprised of metal bleachers…..

With the completion of Phase I, there would be No overhang, No Pressbox and No Dressing Rooms….

Some of those ammeneties, if not all, would be added in the Phases II and III…..

But upon completion of Phase I, when that is done, will we ever see Phase II and III?????

At the current time, there has been 1.3 million dollars appropriated for the renovation work, required to complete Phase I at War Memorial Stadium.

More than 2.3 million dollars will be needed to put Phase II and III in place….

My thoughts are still, why not renovate? Don’t tear the old part down. Part of the plan for the Stadium is keep the entracne as is, so the outside of the ballpark will help retain memories from all your visits to WMS….

What about after you got on the inside of the stadium? The inside is very important when it come to remembering your stays at the stadium….The inside helps you recall all the games you watched at the old ballyard.

Why not use the current amount of money available and tear down the old Grand Stand and eliminate the bleachers in left and right field that no longer get used…..Keep the chairback seats and add others where needed and then use other parts of the 1.3 million dollars to renovate the Press Box and bring it up to standards….

A renovation project such as this one could also save the overhang and renovate one of the true treasures of the stadium….That current overhang could be fixed up and retained and you can ask the fans that came out to watch the games in the 90-plus degree heat/sun on Sunday and they would probably tell you that they would gladly donate a bucket of green paint and a few brushes to make the overhang, keep hanging like it is in 2010….Ask a few of the fans that were sitting underneath the overhang, on Friday night, during the rainshower that came down Yanceyville and Lindsey Streets…..The Friday night fans at War Memorial Stadium loved the overhanging roof behind home plate….(It kept them dry during the game.)

Use and stretch, the current 1.3 dollars in funds, to rip out the old Grand Stand and outfield metal bleachers, renovate the overhang, bring the press box up to standards and pressure wash the entrance to the stadium out front and save the outside appearance…..

Block off the Dressing Rooms and look to renovate and fix them up in Phase II, when that time comes…..(The dressing rooms are probably last on the list of necessities right now, but we do need bathrooms.)

We are not talking about giving War Memorial Stadium an new look….We are talking about giving the old stadium an improved look and saving the practical parts of the complex….

Clean up the outfield areas in left and right by getting rid of the Grand Stand and metal bleachers……DH Griffin, very big supporters of Greensboro Colt Baseball, would probably be glad to lend a helping hand to this part of the project….

Save the chairback seats behind home plate. I’m sure the coliseum has some more chairback seats that they are looking to change out…..That’s where the current chairback seats came from….

There’s got to be a good baseball supporting brick mason that could help us with the Press Box….The old one either needs to be torn down and replaced or it has to be renovated…..

The overhang; why not contact Ronnie Yow, brother of the late Kay Yow, N.C. State AD Debbie Yow, Illinois State assistant women’s basketball cocah Susan Yow and the son of the late Hilton Yow of Gibsonville…..Ronnie Yow’s team at NC Historic Restoration and Preservation Inc. could handle this job, or at least I think they can…..Ronnie’s team has done some great work in and around Old Irving Park….

We need to sub-contract most of this work and put the full 1.3 million dollars to good use….

The restoration project at War Memorial Stadium can work, but it is going to take some serious planning…..

You have to have a vision and you need to include local companies such as DH Griffin and NC Restoration to make it happen……

I feel some good thoughts coming out of this blog piece and there will be a city-council meeting coming up in the next 4-6 weeks and we need to spread the word about that meeting and do a semi-storm of City Hall so we can let the leaders know how we feel about this issue that is facing our city……

I will post more about this meeting as I learn of it’s date…….

We have to have ideas and we are going have to let the leaders know, that we are not pleased with their current plan and that there is an alternative….

I had a good discussion with Greg Jackson of the GP&R on Friday and I hope to keep those doors and phonelines open for more discussions……

We must take a stand or we will get walked all over……..


  • ziggy said,

    Andy for City Council and/or Park and Rec. Director!

    Andy: did you ask Mr. Jackson about your very smart alternative plan?

  • Rodger Dodger said,

    Great ideas, Andy. WMS has so much history behind it — I can’t even imagine tearing the place down or turning it into some type of glorified city park. I agree with a lot of your ideas — I think it could be a larger version of McCrary Park in Asheboro or similar to the field at Catawba and still retain a lot of the character that makes this stadium special. Many times the “powers that be” make rash decisions too quickly. In this case, I hope renovations can be made that will allow the stadium to still bring back those special memories to those who enter it. Many players of all ages and abilities have played at this stadium throughout the years, it would be nice to create a large group of these individuals in order to form a voice that would have to be heard. I would hate to see this facility get a face lift that would essentially equate to a battleship being turned into a row boat. Maybe Derek Jeter or Don Mattingly would be willing to make some calls –each enjoyed their time at WMS…….

  • Andy said,

    We talked about a lot of general items surrounding the plan. I think P&R is holding out hope that the City Council may be able to come up with more money for the project so they can do more than just the Phase I details, but that if there is no more help coming, they may just have to proceed on with Phase I as it is and take what they can get as it currently stands….

    I feel we need to look at the whole plan much closer……

  • mick said,

    You need to talk with David Hoggard and/or David Wharton. They have been fighting this for years. Both are Aycock residents and well known in the blogosphere and city hall.

  • Andy said,

    I haven’t heard of either one of those guys doing anything to try and help the old ballpark for many years.

    It’s like they vanished.

    We need people stepping up now and people that are in support of the stadium and not just their neighborhood.

  • Mick said,

    Then you havent been paying attention and you are dead wrong about neighborhood vs WMS.

    http://www.news-record.com/content/2010/05/02/article/backers_search_for_way_to_save_stadium

  • Andy said,

    That is a very good article, but it just seems to me that those people up there in the Aycock Neighborhood are all talk….They have been talking about doing something up their in their area for several years….

    I have never seen one of those folks at a ballgame….This is about sports and we need sports people to to come on and take charge….

    We have to step up to the plate and at least get past first base…..

  • Mick said,

    I dont disagree entirely. Where are the Sports Commission types on this?

    Have David W or David H ever seen you at a meeting about WMS? Wharton is or has been on the Preservation Commission and Hoggard was on the P&R Commission. They have been at this for years trying to save WMS.

    Know your allies Andy.

  • Andy said,

    A point well taken Mick…As a gentleman told me the other day, give me the Russians and the Chinese and we can rule the world…..

    I was at the Stadium on Tuesday night and without the overhang, we would have drown when that storm came through…..